Harder. Keep going, don’t stop.

Yeah, you like that, baby?

As forced as it sounds when you read it, many of us love hearing dirty talk in the bedroom. We lose ourselves in the heat of passion and take on a persona that turns us on in the most naughty, unconventional ways. But there’s more to it than that. What is it about erotic communication that increases our sexual arousal? When we look past the kinkiness, we may find there’s more to dirty talk than our desire to bring out our wild side.

Sex On The Brain

It begins in the mind.

The brain is considered a more powerful sexual organ than even male and female genitalia because it’s where sex drive stems from. The right amount of dirty talk will excite the mind. However, there is a difference in how each gender’s limbic system works in the brain.

Two areas in the hypothalamus, the preoptic area and the superchiasmatic nucleus, have distinct functions in female and male brains, according to a study published in the journal Hormone Research. The preoptic area, involved in mating behavior, is over two times larger in men than women and contains two times more cells. Meanwhile, the superchiasmatic nucleus, involved with circadian rhythms and reproduction cycles differs in shape: Males have a nucleus that is shaped like a sphere, while women have more of an elongated one.

A larger hypothalamus for men means more circulating testosterone to stimulate the desire for sex. A lower testosterone level and a smaller hypothalamus in women, on the other hand, means their sex drive is not as strong as a man’s. These biological differences are just the many ways men and women’s brain function differs when it comes to sex.

Daryl Cioffi, specializing in couples, relationships, sex, neuropsychology, and owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting in Patucket, R.I., says dirty talk is a whole mind and body experience.

"People very much enjoy dirty talking because it activates all regions of your brain while your body is also getting stimulated," Cioffi told Medical Daily. "Similar areas of the brain are touched upon during dirty talk as when we curse. So, very often as your brain sees it, the dirtier the better."

Woman whispering to man
Woman whispering to man. DenisDenis, CC BY 2.0

For example, many powerful women in their everyday lives and jobs enjoy being more submissive in the bed, says Cioffi, because it stimulates the amygdala. This brain region is our fear center that is heavily involved in excitement and pleasure during sex. The whispers, moans, and screams accompanied by dirty talk are all processed by the brain’s hearing center, including the temporal lobe, the frontal lobe, and the occipital lobe.

After all, the mind is an erogenous zone. The brain and how it organizes the rest of our erogenous zones is further proof of the crucial role of the brain in determining both sex drive and sexual pleasure.

Asking what our partners need from us and what we need from them opens up the lines of communication to show we’re open to changing things up in the bedroom. Verbalizing the sexual roles we want and hearing what our partners want to do to us is essential in sexual arousal.

According to Dr. Ava Cadell, professional speaker, writer, and sex therapist in Los Angeles, Calif., couples engage in dirty talk to “heighten their arousal and share fantasies that they may not want to turn into reality, but talking about them can be even better.”

Communicating Sexual Fantasies In The Bedroom

Committing sexual acts and talking dirty involve two completely different mindsets. Dirty talk is something we do by ourselves, as opposed to physical sex acts. This erotic dialogue, therefore, serves to unleash the interest in new sexual acts that might not usually be of interest.

"Individuals can become comfortable and familiar with using phrases and language and descriptions that express their needs and wants," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, and expert panelist on WE TV's Sex Box told Medical Daily. "Practice expressing your needs and wants and encourage your partner to do the same and be ready to deliver the goods."

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found the more comfortable we are talking about sex, the more satisfactory our sex lives will become. According to the researchers, even the slightest anxiety about communication affected whether partners were communicating or not. It also directly affected their satisfaction. Those who did communicate during sex were more likely to experience sexual satisfaction. In other words, engaging in a dialogue that feels good with our partner can heighten the sexual experience.

April Masini, relationship expert and author, told Medical Daily: “Talking dirty can enhance sex because it's another layer of sexual behavior beyond physical sexual acts.”

Dirty talk can also arouse partners to the point of orgasm. Some women and men can actually get so turned on by dirty talk that they will get wet or hard and orgasm, even without genital stimulation. Masini says, the power of dirty talk can allow someone to get "out of their own head" and into the mood.

Dirty Talk And The 'Good Girl' Complex

The “good girl” complex, similar to the Madonna-Whore complex, is just one facet of what men want. Sex always seems to be the line that the “good girl” crosses where they just have to screw someone in order to be considered a “bad girl.” Pop culture has perpetuated this complex from songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” where he “knows” she wants it because she’s an animal and it’s in her nature, to Usher’s “Yeah!” where Ludacris acknowledges “we” (the men) want a lady in the street and freak in the bed.

Dirty talk is a liberating experience for women to break down this mindset and become comfortable in their sexuality and desires. It’s where people invite their fantasies and where that straight-laced version of a person will enjoy being tied up, being called certain kinds of names, and using dirty words for genital parts when otherwise they wouldn’t think of such behavior, says Walfish.

It lowers inhibitions and reveals bedroom personalities by allowing partners to go a layer deeper within our everyday selves.

Woman and man about to kiss
Woman and man about to kiss. Cristina Souza, CC BY 2.0

For example, some women may get turned on by words like “slut” or “whore,” even though they find it offensive outside the bedroom. Women are able to take control of the word and use it on their own terms. This linguistic exchange can reveal the darker fantasies of the mind and be played out in the privacy of the bedroom.

A woman who calls up her partner at work to say to him “when you come home sweetheart, I'm going to let you tie me to the bedpost, handcuff me, and arrest me," says Walfish, is vocalizing her fantasy outside the bedroom.

"One possibility is maybe she has a dependent personality and maybe she likes the idea of submitting to a dominant, powerful force," she said. "Or maybe she fantasizes about being the dominant one and is afraid to put that on to her guy to do it first, so she tests the waters."

Basically, when we assume a persona via dirty talk or role playing, we have an easier time being sexual.

Dirty Talk And Intimacy

Dirty talk gives people permission to surrender to their deepest, darkest, wildest fantasies. Sex is supposed to be dirty, erotic, and most of all fun.

Sexuality creates intimacy for a couple and becomes the glue of the relationship. Good sex is a barometer of a good relationship.

“Sex isn't just a physical release or an expression of love and affection. It’s a way to work things out and process traumas, big and small,” Masini said.

Dirty talk isn't for perverts, it's about enhancing your sexual experience and vocalizing your sexual wants. More men want women to do it, according to Cadell, and that’s why women do it, to please their men. “Women are more auditory and men are more visual,” she said.

For dirty talk to be successful, it has to be tit for tat. Both people should do it so there’s no sort of animosity or resentment or power struggle.

It’s all about fill in the blank. “I love it when you blank me,” or “Your blank is so hot.”

After all, says Masini, “talking dirty is nothing more than sexual prelude. It’s all about the sex.”